"Fishing" for the Root Cause of a Workplace Problem
Most of us realize the best way to solve an issue is to get to the root or cause of the problem. However, the thought of conducting a root cause analysis leaves many people feeling overwhelmed. Root cause analysis does not have to involve sophisticated statistical methodologies. Tools like the Fishbone Diagram simplify the process, making it as easy as gathering your team around a whiteboard. Use these 4 steps with your team to create a Fishbone:
- Define It. Clearly and specifically define the problem. The better you understand your problem, the more likely you will uncover the true root cause. Put the problem at the "head" of the fish.
- Brainstorm. Start with the common areas for potential causes in any organization: policies, procedures, people and equipment/environment. Agree upon the cause categories. Use this data to label the "bones" of your fish.
- Drill Down. For each cause category, ask "why does this happen" and note the rationale on the respective bone.
- Flesh it Out. Fill in the Fishbone Diagram until ideas are specific enough to gather validating information, take action, etc.